PRs, regional and trade titles may be more powerful than you think

In the world of public relations, securing brand awareness is the name of the game - but it’s not as straightforward as it can sometimes appear. On one hand, a startup may have a favourite international news publication that they believe they could generate the most leads from. Do you hear “can we get into the FT?” more than any other publication? Exactly.  However, clients might want to consider that smaller and more specialised tech publications might help them achieve their sales objectives through a more concise readership of decision-makers. Equally, a regional title with an interesting angle might get picked up by freelancers or national journalists and accelerate all the way into BBC news. You’d be surprised how much this happens. In each respect, both outlets can be powerful tools to enhance the brand image, value, and offerings of each company. Although nationals are typically favoured at face value, regional and trade titles can be a valuable and more accessible asset that more PR professionals should take advantage of. Brand awareness comes in different forms At first glance, it’s easy to assume national coverage might be considered more valuable. After all, if there are more eyes on an article or a brand mention then the chances of good visibility should increase, right? Although there is an element of truth to this line of thinking, brand awareness can be weighted in different ways. From specialised content to millions of readers, it can depend on how the news is positioned, where it is located, and how much airtime is dedicated to it among several additional factors. If the news is located on the back page of a national paper you may find it has fewer readers than a regional or trade outlet with a lower readership on the front page. Likewise, if a more specialised publication includes news on the first few pages it doesn’t always guarantee readers are going to pay more or less attention to what’s included. Readership matters Every so often, trade and regional press outlets can provide more valuable insight than typical announcements covered by journalists that are writing up a topic for the first time. In most cases, content can sometimes be engaging, specialised, and read by key industry players as opposed to national publications that fail to address sector-specific targets. Whereas, in the trade and regional news, audiences can sometimes be more dedicated consumers that feel a closer affinity to topics or areas that feel closer to home. We find that customer stories in specific trade titles lead to “me too sales”,  something which wouldn’t necessarily happen in a national. In a broader sense, key decision-makers can unconsciously value nuanced information, trends, and sector-specific journalists higher than those who cater to a national audience. Consider the credibility Naturally, there is going to be a personal preference that can differ from person to person when it comes to news. While some readers may prefer big tech stories, others may prefer to hear from exciting start-ups that are introducing new, out of the box thinking. As a general rule of thumb, specialist retail and trade publications are typically considered to be viewed through a trustworthy lens that caters to specific target audiences. In other words, news pieces are often written by people in the industry for the industry and there’s no secret as to why several news outlets can be favoured over nationals. With regionals, you might dismiss them as not-so-credible sources of news, where Cookie the cat gets stuck up a tree, but beware. Small stories about local issues can go mainstream if they endanger human life or threaten our privacy as citizens. One day your story might be in a local rag, the next it will be broadsheet front page news. Find the right route for you As great as national reach is, it’s not the be-all and end-all of bringing attention to a brand. Although there’s an incredible amount of benefit to it and will give the internal team huge buzz (and the agency), there are equal benefits to be found in regional and trade news outlets. It’s important to remember there is no one-size-fits-all approach to curating a brand story, image, and securing coverage. Consistent awareness, campaigns and growth are often more effective than a couple of big hits, and depending on your business’s overarching objectives, be it leadgen, investment or recruitment, this might be more suited to a magic combination of trades and verticals. The key is to target and understand your audience and what will make a good story for them. If you get the mix right you might achieve better results than you expect.